World’s Largest Menorah Lighting
Go big on the first night of Hanukkah as the 4,000-pound, 32-foot-tall gold-colored lamp at the southeast corner of Central Park is lit. Israeli artist Yaacov Agam designed the structure, which holds the Guinness World Record for its superlative size and requires a crane to illuminate its candles.
A Darlene Love Christmas
A chief voice in Phil Spector’s ’60s singles factory, Love has found success since as a singer, a late-night TV favorite, a documentary subject and an actor (in Lethal Weapon and Broadway’s Hairspray). Her esteem among other artists has only grown, and deservedly so: No one sings like she sings. Her latest album, 2015’s Introducing Darlene Love, includes songs written for her by Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello. At this annual B.B. King gig, she celebrates the holidays as only the venerated singer can.
If nothing gets you in the holiday spirit quite like thick metal riffs, indoor fireworks and head-spinning light shows, you're in luck. Our favorite shamelessly bombastic prog-pop-metal-classical spectacular visits town for two sets at the Prudential Center.
Sex and the City Trivia
Manolo Blahniks. Post-it breakups. Pee-playing politicians. If the adventures, romances and fashion choices of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte still feel like scripture to you, then gather your own NYC foursome for five rounds of intense trivia at Poco Restaurant & Bar.
Astronomy Live: Grand Tour of the Universe
Using the 3D Digital Universe Atlas, Brian Abbott and Ted Williams will take you on a tour of the most distant corners of the universe. Find out where we are among the Milky Way and more.
Muhammad Ali Exhibitions at New-York Historical Society
Remember the boxing icon at this pair of exhibits featuring works from two of his longtime friends. “ ‘I Am King of the World’: Photographs of Muhammad Ali by George Kalinsky” presents 45 intimate images taken by the Madison Square Garden house photographer. “Muhammad Ali, LeRoy Neiman, and the Art of Boxing” features painted portraits, sketches of matches like the “Thrilla in Manila” and even works that Ali created.
Birdland Big Band
Rob Middleton and Glenn Drewes conduct Birdland's resident jazz band, which weds swing-era glitz with a funky modern beat. The popular group tears up a myriad of classic and original tunes of the jazz, funk and Latin varieties. in its year-ending run at Birdland, the group is joined by singer and saxophonist Darmon Meader.
Snap Impression Live!
New York comedians Andy Beckerman and Ramsey Ess host the game-show podcast Snap Impression, where contestants perform vocal acrobatics to see who can do the best unplanned impressions of celebrities, fictional characters and historical personages—performances that often devolve into nonsensical improv scenes. See the transformations before your eyes at the live version.
The Talking Show with Evan Rocha
Brooklyn funny guy Rocha hosts this talk show and stand-up showcase benefitting Food Bank For New York City. Also on the bill are Joe List (The Late Show), Robert Dean (Comedy Central), Ana Fabrega (Portlandia) and Josh Gondelman (Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver). Co-hosting duties fall to Calvin Cole (Cheap Date).
Good Riddance Day
Rid yourself of 2016’s baggage at the tenth annual Good Riddance Day, inspired by the Latin American tradition of burning dolls that represent issues from the year before. Bring the things you want to forget to Times Square—the Times Square Alliance will provide shredders, dumpsters and sledgehammers. Goodbye to all that!
Kurt Vile & The Violators + Woods + Nathan Bowles
Kurt Vile is a tuneful Philadelphia psych-pop artist whose work tilts at times toward the disconcertingly raw. Expect tunes from b’lieve i'm goin down, the excellent follow-up to his much-hyped 2013 release Wakin on a Pretty Daze. Filling out the bill is Brooklyn mainstays Woods: Their latest, City Sun Eater in the River of Light, incorporates Ethiopian jazz and jammy reggae grooves into the band's fuzz-fried sound.
Christine Pedi: Snow Bizness
When Forbidden Broadway alum Christine Pedi draws from her deep reservoir of celebrity vocal impressions, she shines brightly as a star in her own right. This month, she roasts holiday chestnuts by Liza Minnelli, Ethel Merman, Julie Andrews and more; her astonishing “12 Divas of Christmas” alone is worth the price of admission.
The tireless jam band vets hit the Garden for another four-night run of New Year’s Eve gigs. This is the Vermont quartet’s 10th time ringing in the holiday at the venue, so you better believe they’ll be ready to bring the party.
Festivus: A Sorta-Holiday Comedy Show
You're almost there. Crowded retail stores, travel traffic, cookie-induced weight gain, over-priced NYE parties, it's almost all a distant memory. Blow off some steam before the final push at this comedy night hosted by Paul Spratt and featuring sets from Alexis Guerreros (AXS TV), Liz Miele (Comedy Central), Sam Morril (Conan), Mike Vecchione (NBC).
The Beatbox House Party
Members of the NYC Beatbox House deliver bullet-fire renditions of classic hip-hop and R&B jams at this dance party. Prepare to be amazed.
Fire in the Hole
Got a thing for redheads? You'll find plenty of them at this monthly soiree for gingers and their admirers. DJ Sean McMahill (guess what color his hair is?) presides while you knock back cheap pints and whiskey gingers.
Oh My Science Presents a Serious Religious Ceremony
Audiences actually learn quite a bit during Dan Silver's twisted, hysterical "Oh My Science" lectures on psychology, animal biology and ecology. For this irreverent installment, the UCB comedian switches gears to deliver a sermon on meditation, morality and more. Expect to lift your voice in song—and laughter.
Harlem Gospel Choir
Formed in 1986, the Harlem Gospel Choir has an impressive crossover résumé, having worked with U2 (on Rattle and Hum), Diana Ross and Jimmy Cliff. The group’s performances are exuberant, to say the least, as you'd expect from the choir's slogan: "Get your dose of the Holy Ghost." Check them out here at this special holiday brunch edition.
The parody-making masterminds behind Fly, You Fools and Hold on to Your Butts set their eyes on America's favorite tale of childhood abandonment, Home Alone. Watch the insane saga of household pranks ensue with the help of puppets, projections and a four-person choir.
Lasers in the Jungle
Hosts Dan Wilbur (The Onion), Sean Crespo (MTV) and Katina Corrao (VH1) welcome stand-ups to this ongoing weekly showcase. Previous acts include Aparna Nancherla (@midnight), Ben Kronberg (Last Comic Standing) and Michelle Wolf (Late Night with Seth Meyers). After more than four years of weekly shows, Lasers has quite a Rolodex of comics to call. You never know who might show up at a performance.